Roadway, parking lot improvements coming to park at Coon Rapids Dam

The Anoka County Board has awarded a contract for roadway and parking lot improvements planned this year at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park.

On the recommendation of its Parks and Recreation Committee, the county board approved the low bid from Rachel Contracting Inc., St. Michael, in the amount of $988,124.

Funding sources for the work are the metro regional  parks capital improvements program and the state parks and trails legacy fund.

The estimated cost of the work was $1.1 million.

According to Karen Blaska, park planner, construction is expected to start in June and be substantially complete in October.

The project will reconstruct the park roadway and parking lots south of the Coon Rapids Visitor Center parking lot.

In addition, there will be utilities and lighting improvements, restoration and signage.

This is the second of a three-phase project at the regional park, according to John VonDeLinde, county parks and recreation director.

The first phase completed two years ago reconstructed the entrance to the park and the parking lot next to the Visitor Center.

This project will take care of the rest of the parking lots in the park, except the parking lot for the performance pavilion, which is relatively new, VonDeLinde said in an earlier interview.

Efforts will be made to minimize the impact of the construction on park users, for example the Coon Rapids Arts Commission concert series at the performance pavilion, which begins in June and runs through early August, he said.

Restoration work, such as seeding, sodding and landscaping won’t take place until late summer/early fall when conditions are best for germination, he said.

According to VonDeLinde, the third phase of the project – rebuilding the boat launch parking lot and access – won’t occur until the reconstruction of the Coon Rapids Dam itself is completed.

That two-year project is scheduled to begin this spring and be completed in 2014.

“It makes no sense to rebuild the boat launch parking lot and access until after the reconstruction of the dam is complete because heavy traffic will be using it during the work on the dam,” VonDeLinde said.

Last year the city of Coon Rapids reconstructed Egret Boulevard from Coon Rapids Boulevard to the entrance to the regional park.

The 446-acre Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park is one of the most popular in Anoka County, according to the county parks website.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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